TechSpot

Sales People

By Daveskater
Aug 30, 2007
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  1. Daveskater

    Daveskater Banned Topic Starter Posts: 2,031

    i'm not saying that sales people should know the answer to every question you throw at them, just that the majority seem to not even have a basic knowledge of computers and that they should be given some basic training, just stuff like "if they're doing internet and word processing, give them an eMachines/some other basic pc, if they want to game, give them a high end HP" - maybe not exactly like that but you know what i mean ;)

    again, it's not about showing off your technical expertise to the customer, it's finding out their needs and selling something that will suit them, and having even a basic knowledge of pc's will help any sales person do this

    the bold part makes my main point to this thread, you don't open a green grocers and not know the difference between a carrot and a potato. Rik is entirely right that the person he spoke to should have said that he will find out, surely somebody in the store will know what a bios is. for example, (this is a similar sort of situation) if i'm at work and somebody can't find a product, i'll find out if we have it if i'm not sure about it, not just go "it'll be in friday". i'm not saying "all people should be like me" and i suppose it's natural to get confused by questions you don't know the answer to, but to go and say that a pc doesn't have/need a bios is a bit more than a natural reaction, it's more like guessing and hoping you're right, which is the opposite of what a sales person should be doing
     
  2. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,821   +922

    To be...or not to be...a salesman that is......,

    No, I'm not "knit picking". I'm breaking b***s. It's not malicious....just teasing...read the original header...."silly post alert".

    If you think you can absorb sufficient information about computers in about a "half a day" to function as an informed salesperson, you certainly don't know how much there is to know, or you're the fastest learner I ever heard of.

    Sales, as with any other human endeavor has to begin somewhere. So, it's not likely that anyone's an expert at the outset. As Rick points out, the goal should be to answer the customers needs. If you don't know something to assist your customer then you should be prepared to find out, or be prepared to lose that customer.

    Companies generally don't train a sales staff for technical knowledge, just sales approach and company policy. This unfortunately leaves it up to the individual employee to do their "homework". Some salespeople are willing (and interested enough) to do this. Others are not. If you think about it, it's better to get the equipment into the persons home first, then service the sale after you've closed the deal. Again, the cream should rise to the top, and the truly interested seller should be rewarded with repeat business.

    The situation can be approached two ways; you could be a salesman that becomes a computer "geek", or a computer "geek" that becomes a salesman. Either approach seems like it might lead to success.
     
  3. Daveskater

    Daveskater Banned Topic Starter Posts: 2,031

    that might be good for the sales person, what with closing the sale, but for the customer it is bad because they will not want to be served by you again and their impression of the shop will turn bad, and it'll be the old stores of "the guy in the shop wasn't helpful, i need to keep taking my stuff back"

    it could be that they blame the hardware if something goes wrong so no blame is placed on the shop or its staff but it depends on the customer

    and with that i bid you good night for i grow weary from manic posting ;)
     
  4. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,821   +922

    Manic Huh......?

    Will someone tell me exactly how much "sales assistance" is offered by the "sales people" at Newegg?

    At the end of the day they publish the specs, have pictures of the product, offer a great price, and give embedded links to the manufacturers product page. And, they have the merchandise in your home at almost the same time you thought of ordering it.
    Did I mention a liberal return policy?

    The only "sales staff" they have is the customers themselves vis a vis the reviews they publish. How about that, free work. Of course when those reviews work their way here, there is always someone here to dispute them almost to the death if necessary.

    Oddly enough I've never seen that much bad feedback about Newegg's marketing strategy. In fact, it seems like a recipe for becoming the largest online marketer of computer parts in the USA.

    It seems to me that if a "consumer" needs more babysitting than that, they can, (and frequently do), join a tech forum. Assuming of course that they're as interested as they insist the person who sold them the box in the first place MUST be.

    With marketers such as Newegg around however, A guy in a mall can give a customer all the (correct) answers their little heart desires, at which point they'll say "thanks for the information", and go home and order it from Newegg due to the fact it's going to be half the price.

    So, better to get it into their homes first. and be there with the help they need when the come back for it. That's when you help them, and sell them the graphics card upgrade at the same time.

    Here's a scene for you; a customer walks into a computer store and says, I'd like to purchase a computer to go on the internet and run MS Word, I'd like to go with an Intel Pentium 4 if I could. The highly knowledgeable salesperson immediately says, "no you must buy an AMD processor, and begins to explain the limitations of netburst architecture". For the sake of argument, let's say the customer capitulates and says, "will that Emachines with an AMD CPU do what I need to do"? The highly knowledgeable salesperson says, "do not buy that Emachines, for verily, it is a piece of s***"! The customer then goes to Walmart and buys the Emachines for a hundred dollars less. Proving once again that a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.

    This message brought to you by captaincranky, Verizon, and the Emachines T-5026. The still working Emachines T-5026.
     
  5. Ph30nIX

    Ph30nIX TS Rookie Posts: 359

    In regards to the BIOS question that would be very difficult for most sales people to answer. In my store there is only limited information such as the general specs, (CPU,hard drive, any software etc). For something like the BIOS, you would have to go and check the actual motherboard or the boot screen as that sort of information is not actally given to us. The reason: The average end-user does not even know what a BIOS is. I have probably had maybe 2 questions out of the past 6months even slightly bios related and I was able to answer them with basic knowledge that is easily aquired.]

    Even gamers who come in to check out PC's dont ask about the BIOS, but are more interested in the hard specs. (CPU,RAM, GFX)
     
  6. Daveskater

    Daveskater Banned Topic Starter Posts: 2,031

    knowledge is only dangerous if used in the wrong way. the customer can buy an emachines if they want and the sales person can sell them one if they want, if they think that it will suit their needs as a user
     
  7. cosmos100

    cosmos100 TS Rookie Posts: 82

    The Last Word?

    Again, knit picking I picked a random amount of time and you dig the person for it. But if you want to be over pedantic about it then lets go for it.

    Processor - the "brain" of the PC - makes PC go fast. (that’s right, I meant to say that, I'm taking the piss you see)

    Hard Drive - A big memory bank your computer uses to store files that can be accessed at a later date.

    Motherboard - The primary circuit board your computer uses to provide connects to other components of the computer.

    At this point surely the salesmens brains would be dripping out of there ears and this would have taken several weeks to pick up, my goodness I'm surprised they go to work after all the complementary tea and biscuits!

    I meant the BASICS Cranky, we're not wanting the salesmen to be going into what the FSB or even what a Northbridge is, because frankly the customer doesn't give a ****.

    If you wish to over analysis any of my other posts, just PM me or anyone else on the forum.

    Toddles
     
  8. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 4,985

    I will share my one other PC World experience. They had a shelf full of about 15 ish different pc cases with no prices on them. I turned around, saw a staff member and said " how much are the pc cases?" Then got the reply "I don't think we do just cases". He must have been able to see them behind me fgs, it was quite a big display and i aint fat!!!
     
  9. Daveskater

    Daveskater Banned Topic Starter Posts: 2,031

    now that's crazy. if they included psu's then fair enough, he should have said "we only do ones with power supplies" but that really is crazy saying they don't sell them

    i would have said "oh ok, how much is this then" and pointed to a case, just to embarrass them haha ;)
     
  10. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 4,985

    I actually said "well what are these behind me then?". He mumbled something about finding out then vanished. I waited for a bit, got bored, walked out.


    In a different shop that I forget the name of now, I was after a data cable. The guy spent a few minutes checking their books, said they dont do it, logged onto their system and gave me 3 nearby shops that did do it and had it in stock.

    Now thats what I call helpful.

    A few weeks later a friend was after a dvd burner so I took him the the afore mentioned shop. I had a good look at what they had on the shelf. He then asked the sales guy about them and he picked out the one I would have picked and explained it was the best for it's money.


    Again, thats what I call helpful.


    I suppose the moral of the story is that if you want good service and information in order to make an informed decision then you are most likely to get what you want at a smaller, independant shop, rather than a big "specialist" chainstore.


    I only ever go into a PC World shop nowadays if I already know exactly what I want and have done any research myself beforehand.




    I will just add, that small independant shop also had a branch up in London. I was in there a few years back with a different friend who lived near that shop. One of the staff was fixing a pc in the back and was getting nowhere. I said to the guy serving us that it was such an easy thing to fix and said exactly how to do it. The guy serving us walked over to the pc, did exactly what I had suggested and got the pc working perfectly.
    I went and had a look at some of their cool case mods while my friend finished buying what he was after. The guy serving asked him if I was looking for a job, turned out he was the shop owner. My friend explained that i lived about 30 miles away and didnt have transport at the time.
    When i came back over the guy said that it was a shame I lived so far away as he was going to ask me if i could start working for them immediately.

    Not really relevant, but a little amusing i think.
     
  11. Daveskater

    Daveskater Banned Topic Starter Posts: 2,031

    the first part is just plain funny, the second is spot on :) the last time i went to an independent shop the guy knew exactly what i was on about and he was talking wow or halo or something with his friend

    that is quite amusing about getting offered a job on the spot after going to the shop once for a few minutes, if only you lived closer, eh ;)
     
     
  12. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 4,985

    I guess the problem with being a salesman is morality really. I personally for example could never ever actually sell Norton to someone, the feeling of guilt would overwhelm me lol.

    8 words that ALL salesmen should use, "I don't know but I will find out", would be a huge improvement over B S'ing.


    I should add. I have never been a salesman and never plan to be one either.
     
  13. Daveskater

    Daveskater Banned Topic Starter Posts: 2,031

    same, i couldn't sell someone norton because i know the consequences of installing it ;)

    i don't know if you'd call me a sales person or not but i work in a supermarket (technically "convenience store") and not a pc shop so it doesn't apply that much
     
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,821   +922

    What exactly are you talking about?

    Unlike many of the participants in this thread I actually was in electronics sales for a couple of years. And judging by the general content of this thread most of the participants in this thread, let how should I put this (so as not to ruffle your tender little feathers), don't know squat about it. You just want to run your mouth about how the sales staff are *****s and how superior your knowledge is compared to theirs.

    If you post saying the the companies should train their employees for "half a day", then mean "half a day".

    If you think you could get by in sales with that drivel you've just posted, think again. Plenty's the time when I had customers walk in with a copy of consumers guide tucked under their arm, which they'd already read from cover to cover. Actually, when we were lucky enough to stock the well reviewed item, the magazine was the best salesperson on the staff. And well, many were the times when CR was flat out wrong.

    Please don't demand that I PM you or anybody else, you simply don't have that authority. Also, I flat out don't have the inclination or interest. So we'll plod along in the forensic mode.

    I am not finished with a post until I am satisfied with the syntax, and all the little red misspelling lines go away. I do this out of respect for the English language and the person or persons that have to read it. If that's too "pedantic", tough ****! <(I learned to spell those asterisks from your post). Frankly, in many cases I think that this is a gross waste of time and effort.

    I think that the best salesman is the one that doesn't need an answer for your questions, (you've already done the research), and you have to look for when you're ready to buy. (He's been ignoring you up till then).

    Have a nice day!
     
  15. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,821   +922

    Volunteers......?

    Perhaps there is a lesson here. It's seems that people who actually would be qualified as a "computer consultant", simply don't want to do it.
     
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,821   +922

    Point of View......!

    Much of this thread is written from the point of view of the consumer. This is quite understandable but, it does lack counterpoint. With the advent of "etailers" such as Newegg and others a salesman in a brick and mortar venue can have all the right answers, be courteous, and helpful, then wind up being the best salesman that Newegg has ever had since he can't compete on price. This contributes to a high turnover, new salesman don't know as much as experienced ones, so it's all a slippery slope. CompUSA is supposed to close a great many of their stores, and, as I understand it, they got rid of their most senior staff. It would seem the retailers are in no small part culpable for the lousy service, so why direct all the hostility at the poor stiffs who just need a job and were unlucky enough to get one in sales.
     
  17. cosmos100

    cosmos100 TS Rookie Posts: 82

    errr ok then...

    Well clearly you didn't understand my very sarcastic post CaptainCranky...

    If you haven't noticed by now I don't take you very seriously because you seem to talk out of your **** a lot, you know all the "I worked in sales for 400 million years so I know more than anyone on the planet, so you can shut up". It wears a bit thin, so I'll leave you with it.

    PS - Surprise surprise CC I didn't want you to PM me (see that sarcasm again), I wouldn't waste my time reading it!

    See ya!
     
  18. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,821   +922

    Duh, a couple of years..., is that like a gazillion....?

    Gosh, you are sooooooo clever, I bet nobody's sarcasm compares with yours. That's why I didn't get it, it's way too sophisticated. Like the way you turned "a couple of years" into "400 million years", who else but you would have had the insight, wisdom, intelligence, and bravado for that? Smooooth move, you're just swell! But I didn't need to tell you that, did I?

    Incidentally, raising a couple of years to 400 million isn't sarcasm per se, it's more like hyperbolizing. Still a smooth maneuver though, I'm impressed.

    Just like a salesman, I am, what with blowing all that sunshine your way, and in all the right places to boot!

    If I were on the sales floor, and you walked in, I would have recognized you immediately for the formidable adversarial challenge you obviously present, and asked you to leave until you came back with a parent.
     
  19. N3051M

    N3051M TS Rookie Posts: 2,800

    ok guys.. keep it clean.

    Most should know by now that there is a big difference between an "ordinary salesman" and a "salesman trained in selling tech stuff". Pretty obvious that i shouldn't need to expand on it right? Oh yeah. There is also the "sales guy from another department that doesn't know a thing walking past the tech area to get to the back dock" person as well.

    And about the training "half a day" thing:
    Where i work we just got some new people to help us through the christmas season so they're complete newbies in terms of the shop. Now, 1 works with HP part time so he knows quite a bit, the other does graphic design, so his level of pc knowledge is also pretty good. Other two has so-so and limited knowledge with pcs.
    if you asked any of them about whatever on their first few days, they'd all be lost, correct? Even with basic knowledge, if you don't know what your selling, or have "floor (product + experience) knowledge", just having pc knowledge is useless (since you don't know what to offer or illustrate to the customer). After a week or two you ask them some stuff and they'll most likely go "yep.. what you're looking for is... this does that.. blah blah...."

    Basic PC knowledge takes a few minutes to a few hours to learn, Product knowledge takes a lot longer to sink in, and is the hardest to learn. Experience takes time. Its a bonus (pc knowledge) but its useless by itself. This works in all fields - art supplies, tech, homewares etc. and in every type of shop.

    consumer point of view: "that person works here, he/she must know everything" (actual quote from a nasty customer over the phone. He was speaking to one of the girls at the register and she passed the call onto me, as you would to transfer calls to another department - duh of course she wouldn't know anything. thats why i'm here *****!)

    i wouldn't mind working in another tech shop if i change jobs.. as long as they pay me good money and hours and give me my holidays =). I guess the good thing about working like that is that you get to get your hands on new stuff and even play with it (use the excuse that you want to "learn" what it does or put it out on display... hehe)
     
  20. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,821   +922

    The Customer is Always right.....Except when they're Not....

    If you examine how many deals you close versus how many "customers" you contact, you realize somebody's lying and it's not always you. Does that mean that 9 out of 10 customers are impostors? Hmmm... or maybe posers?

    Technically minded people would seem to, (and do, in many cases),gravitate toward selling technical product. It always much, much easier to sell something you're genuinely enthusiastic about. You're actually bringing a "friend" on board, sharing something you enjoy.

    It does seem to give to some "customers" great satisfaction in already knowing the answer to a question that they asked that you didn't. I guess that's self validation for the triffler. They generally don't buy, have already bought elsewhere, or don't have the money.

    Why is it the the customer always thinks he's inside the salespersons head when they're usually the one being "qualified" from the minute they walk in the door. If I may be so bold, might I suggest an over-inflated sense of self worth. The act of buying is an avenue to getting the attention you believe you deserve, in the way you believe you deserve it. Nay, verily entitled to it.

    Sometimes, when I want to shop and not be bothered, I don't shave and wear dirty clothes, and browse very peacefully, thank you very much.

    At the end of the day, maturity isn't what you know, it's realizing how much you have yet to learn. That holds true for the salesperson and customer alike.

    Now the disclaimer, my last trips to BB have been somewhat less than satisfactory, my reasoning being, if I've already done the research, know what I want and am ready to buy it, couldn't you a least be courteous enough to know what's in the ad and whether or not you have it. That's not asking too much is it? I mean really, with me most times, you don't even have to know how to work it.
     
  21. therein lies the problem with that phrase. 'the customer is always right' is not so much their philosophy as it is a policy. how do you maximize sales? please the customer, even when you know they're full of it.

    if you work in a store, you pretty much have to pull politeness out of your bum. and by pull it out of there, i mean scrape every once of it you can into a pile and let it snow over the customer.

    i wish that the customer was more highly educated and knowledgeable about the products they're looking at. this is the age of computers. if you don't have one, you'll have a hard time living in our society because 90% of the stuff we do is on computers. so by that logic, you should know your computer inside and out to optimize your efficiency and keep up with an ever changing technological environment.

    if you're computer is in piss poor shape, and you need to fix it up, you better know exactly what you need, how much of it you need, what kind of quality you want in the product, and where to find it.

    i'm so frustrated with the lack of knowledge, both in myself as well as others, that i'm seeking education by using these forums, and seeking to educate others. i want people to have the technical knowledge because they need it. not because i think they should have it.

    it's just like owning a car, or a guitar, or a house. you better know what to do if something goes wrong with it. if your car's engine starts clicking, or the guitar loses a string, or your house starts leaking, you better know that you have a problem with your cylinders, you have to restring your guitar with a proper string, and that you have to replace some of the roofing on your house.

    it's just something you need to know. or you'll wish you knew later down the road.

    so i wouldn't be mad about the customer always being right even when they aren't. i would pity them for their lack of education. they needed the information but don't have it. and now they're in a jam. i'd want to help them and make sure that next time it happens, they know what to do.

    as a matter of fact, to make things easy on computer stores and vendors, i'd suggest that the manufacturer offer an exact list of the parts, and the compatible parts for the product. if i decide i want to upgrade my memory, i better know that the motherboard uses pc2 6400 RAM, and that i need to buy that kind or it won't work.

    we get that kind of question here on the forums all the time. see what i mean?

    "The Customer is always right, but they're not always knowledgeable. So let's finally frickin teach them."
     
  22. ravisunny2

    ravisunny2 TS Ambassador Posts: 2,057   +8

    Right on, Brother. Let us educate ourselves, and the pretenders.
     
  23. Ph30nIX

    Ph30nIX TS Rookie Posts: 359

    Wow I am suprised how big this thread got so quickly, last time I checked it was a few pages.

    FYI Link, you'd probably be suprised how many people actual sell their guitar when they break a string because they either dont know how to change it or cant be bothered, quite frankly it is ridiculous.

    For everyone else: What is your opinion on retail staff swearing in the shop, not neccessarily at customers, but just in general.

    Cheers,
    Nic
     
  24. actually, i know that far too many of them do. frankly those are the "wannabe" guitar players, the ones that have their mind set on doing it, but don't have the heart and determination to continue with it even if something goes wrong. those are the people that make me lose more faith in humanity than i've already lost.

    but anyway...as to the swearing...i posted some time ago about this issue, and i very nearly lost my head over it because i was practically getting chewed out for my opinion about it.

    my philosophy is this. show me the same respect i show you. only do it around me if i think its ok. if you want to do it with your other friends and they're ok with it, fine by me. but above all else, keep it clean around the customers. even if the customer starts chewing you out, you have to somehow keep a level head. that could be one bad review that gets spread to a hundred others and that's the kind of thing that could ruin a business.
     
  25. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,821   +922

    A New Ball Game.......

    As all of you probably know by now, CompUSA will be closing their doors by (again probably) the middle of February. This renders somewhat rhetorical this whole line of discussion, or perhaps proves some of the points myself and others have made along the way. For whatever you may think about the chain, it is/was a very large number of stores dedicated, (for the most part) to sales of computers and computer parts. I make this distinction since one of the the other chains of retail stores, Best Buy, is actually turning a profit, but has much less to offer in walk-in selection of computing gear, since it's basically a supermarket for anything that plugs in, or takes batteries. Gee, what will some of you do when you have no salespeople to bad-mouth? I guess we'll see.
    Circuit City is operating at a loss also, (still).
    I guess the sales staffs are probably getting worse as employee turn-over escalates, and good people with good sense seek more secure employment or are let go, simply because they are making too much money.
    This does beg the question who will we b**** about now?
    The increasing use of "etailers" such as Newegg is cited at least partially for the demise of profitability in the B&M world.
    So, when the dust settles, we ourselves may become the next generation of computer salesmen, albeit unpaid. It fascinates me to watch one of our "I'm thinking about building a new computer, what parts should I use" threads evolve. Everybody has a different opinion, and everybody is certain they're right. If I walked into a retail store and was assaulted with so many conflicting opinions, I'd come to the conclusion that nobody knew what they were talking about, then buy it someplace else. Even if somebody posts that they made their decision and purchase, half the time there's a half a dozen posts below that with people still running their mouths about what should be bought. Weird,..... and pointless! Sales is an easy job though, isn't it?
    Anyway, the way this industry is going we won't have salespeople to kick around much longer, just forums, customer reviews, and our own knowledge and instincts. Will we be better or worse off? Waddya' think?
     


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